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15 1 NorthwestAdventureWhat is this place called The Thorofare It is a river between upper and lower Priest Lake which the locals refer to as a piece of heaven on earth and for me the number one water adventure in the Northwest. Although you can hike along the edge of the river the easier and maybe more exciting way to enjoy this wilderness area is to boat through the channel either by kayak or canoe or by shallow draft motor boat. Pontoon or fishing boats can navigate the shallow entrance but speed boats and cruisers need to be extra cautious to avoid coming into contact with the sandyrocky channel floor. So here is the preparation for this exciting one-day adventure Start early when the lake is calm and head north with lunch water camera sun screen hat and towels for the half to hour trip to Mosquito Bay. Youll see the ribs of old lake steamer the Tyee sunk in the bay. Look for the channel markers on your left steering between them. I suggest putting the weight in the bow of your motor boat and raising the prop to just under the surface of the water and slow downno wake in this channel. Listen for birds and ducks and look for fish and moose as you gently glide through the channel hardly making a ripple on the wateryour chance to hear peace. When you reach the upper lake continue your interface with wild nature as you cruise around its six-mile shoreline. You might want to stop at one of the four official campsitesthere are outhouses with TP for your use. I like to just stop to float while eating lunch. To make your trip back to port a smooth one consider leaving the upper by mid-afternoon to avoid the afternoon breezes on the north end of lower Priest. On the way home youll see Chimney Rock on your left and as you approach Kalispel Bay Indian Rock is on your right. This is a good time to consider refueling as most small boats will use the major portion of a tank of gas on this trip. I make this trip once or twice a summermaybe Ill see you along the way.. by Carolyn Deshler Blue Diamond Marina Its a Miracle Highly Effective Therapeutic Massage 208.230.8560 Miracles Performed Daily Priest River By appointment only Visitors eating ice cream pack the porch at Coolins historic Leonard Paul Store on summer weekends. For almost a century the porch has served as a center for the village but other buildings document Coolins rich history too. Leonard Paul himself was a relatively latecomeropening his first log store in 1906. It stood north of the present store where concrete stairs now lead up to an empty lot once occupied by Pauls frame house. Miner Andy Coolin homesteaded the bay and began selling land to create the village. In 1900 Walt Williams bought lots at the top of the hill and built the Northern Inn. The two-story log hotel witnessed much of the lakes tumultuous pasthosting minersloggers prostitutes bootleggers murderers movie stars and generations of tourists as it passed through dozens of owners. Today the Old Northern Inn attracts a more genial crowd after it was restored in 1993. The white-framed Coolin Civic Center now the Community Hall served as schoolhouse from 1916 until the Priest Lake Elementary School opened in 1961. The community located it at the corner of the East Shore Road because many of the students walked from the homesteads on the big meadows at the foot of Sundance Mountain. Originally the only road to Priest Lake ended at Coolin so marinas have always occupied the lakefront. When early campers and cabin owners arrived for vacations on the stage coach they spent the night at the Coolin Inn a large framed hotel that stood across the street from the store. The next morning they picked up their gear stored in the garages at the top of the hill and loaded it on to the steamboat. Today Bishops Marina stands as a reminder of Coolins role as gateway to Priest Lake. It traces its lineage back to the 1920s but honors Russ and Mona Bishop who operated the marina in the 1950s and 60s along with the last steamboat the Tyee. For more history of Coolin pick up a walking tour brochure or Wild Place The History of Priest Lake at the Priest Lake Museum in Luby Bay. by Kris Runberg Smith